Tony Reid offers his weekly dose of happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania shop where he works.
This past week started on the heels of the recent announcement of the results of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s voting for the Hall of Fame inductees for 2022. Along with a few players voted in earlier by the Golden Days and Early Baseball Era committees, Boston Red Sox icon David Ortiz was the lone player to receive the required 75% on the writer’s ballots. With it being the last opportunity on the ballot for the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, it made for a lot of conversation in the shop this week. The only chance for many of the all time greats who played in the ‘Steroid Era’ is through the Veteran’s Committee votes in a few years.
Our collectors had various opinions, of course, but since I’m writing this piece I’ll share mine with you.
It’s a dangerous and slippery slope for writers to start determining a player’s Hall of Fame worthiness based on anything other than what happens between the foul lines. When writers start becoming the morality police in the world of professional sports, I think it tarnishes the process. It’s not an easy job to make those decisions on behalf of the game, but I think the majority of fans are now less than thrilled with where we’re at.
Yes, I am aware that the Baseball Hall has a character clause that plays into the voting process. However, if we went back and dug through the off the field exploits of players who were elected decades ago, many of those players would not receive votes today for their actions. Its also rather ironic that baseball has said character clause in its voting process, considering that when the Hall was established players of color weren’t even allowed to play the game. So much for any shred of character. Here’s a newsflash: there are racists, spousal abusers and some pretty reprehensible characters already in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
If its ‘steroids’ and on the field cheating alone that eliminates the great crop of that era’s players inclusion, then we also better have some consistency in holding players in past eras accountable for abuse of substances. Many players in the 1960s and 70s used amphetamines to battle the rigors of the marathon like baseball season, a clear competitive advantage over those who didn’t. Some former players have stated that even before the 1990s, there were players using illegal substances that were solely meant to increase their physical gifts and bolster their odds for success. What about sign stealing, ball scuffing and spitballs? Are we going to remove those greats from the Hall in order to make sure it’s pure?
If it’s the Baseball Hall of Fame’s job to preserve the history of the game, then those who determine who is honored there must elect the best players, warts and all. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any standards at all, but let’s use common sense and appreciate these athletes for what they were on field. Long before any steroid accusations, guys like Bonds and Clemens were among the all-time best at what they did. They are Hall of Fame baseball players. My point is this: if a player had an career worthy of others already in the Hall, he should be there.
I apologize for the windbaggery. You may have your own opinion and the great thing about working in a hobby shop is we can all have a great time arguing about sports and still be friends who share a love of cards.
While I’m standing high on my soapbox, though, there is something else I want to rant about. How we are still receiving new products from the 2020-21 NBA season as we sit here near the All-Star break of the 2021-22 season is absolute craziness.
As we turned the page to what will be the fifth month of the season, we received various Panini basketball products that are part of last season’s release calendar, featuring rookie cards of LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and the rest of the 2020 draft class. As we break packs and boxes and sort cards in the shop, there are times I get confused as to what it is I’m dealing with and who the rookies are from those products.
With all that being said, 2020-21 Panini Flux has been selling pretty well in it’s various forms as we’ve busted a couple of hangers and blasters and from what I’ve seen in store, it does seem like a fun product to rip.
Panini recently put out a factory set through Fanatics that consists of all Cracked Ice parallels.
I just wish there were more of this season’s products with this season’s rookies to sell. We’re going to see a lot of 2021 football products that are normally out by now arriving in the spring, too. It just feels wrong but I guess the issues are beyond the control of the card companies. Hopefully, it won’t dampen collector enthusiasm for some of these products.
As far as current year releases, we received 2021 Immaculate Football and it sold out almost immediately. For whatever reason (and maybe it was just coincidence), all of our sales were at quantity of two with a price tag of just under $1,700 each. We are completely sold out and we did not see any opened inside the store which is kind of a shame as that’s a product I would love to see opened first hand.
Our graded card blind boxes continue to sell really well for us in store and online. Every few days we have to grab another two row graded box to keep them sorted and I have to use the utmost of my willpower not to buy them and add some to my own collection.